A Gala Durham & Queen’s Hall Arts Centre co-production
Beyond Caring by Christina Castling
Hexham Queens Hall,
Wednesday 11 October 2023
Now touring the North East of England
from until Sunday 5 November 2023
Direction by Jonluke McKie
Design by Ellie Light
Based on interviews with residents, relatives and staff of care homes, Beyond Caring is a warm, well informed examination of life in care homes that remembers the funny and absurd side of life at the end of the age range.
A cast of three play multiple roles throughout the 75 minutes duration. Having said that 3 characters predominate. Judi Earl is Queenie the resident. At times challenging like a teenager, refusing to follow the details of her agreed care plan, she has her own will and is determined to make that point. Queenie will be recognisable to many.
Jacqueline Phillips is the middle aged daughter Elaine who is coping with an elderly mother who won't accept that she has gone from falling down to having falls. The dilemma of facing the need to changing the care arrangements is palpable. Again, if you have very elderly relatives in your life then you empathise with the situation.
Doing much of the work of representing the Care workforce, and narrating when necessary, is Rosie Stancliffe. She appears as Alex who has been at the care home 10 years but, whilst she loves much of the job, she sees a lot of staff turnover with new staff. In an industry screaming for staff, Rosie is able to elaborate on the reasons why recruitment is an issue without labouring on the point.
This is a really strong cast that deliver both a local flavour and authenticity to the tale. The key reason why this show works, why it successfully wins over the audience, is that you quickly care about the people. Talented actors representing recognisable people that are not just stereotypes. Their frustration is the audiences frustration.
The touring nature of this production means that the set is fairly simple, reliant heavily on costume and props changes. The cast segue between characters and situations fluidly and this helps keep the pace up,
Beyond Caring is a wonderful production thanks to the level of empathy with the subject matter. It does not fall into the trap of making judgement. It leaves that to the audience.
Review: Stephen Oliver
Photo: Matt Jamie
For more information about Beyond Caring and to book tickets visit www.beyond-caring.co.uk
Beyond Caring North East Tour Dates:
• Thursday 12 October, 2pm - Blackhall Community Centre
• Friday 13 October 7.30pm - Hamsteels Community Centre
• Saturday 14 October, 7.30pm - Clara Vale Village Hall
• Tuesday 17 October, 8pm - Hipp @ The Hullabaloo, Darlington Hippodrome
• Wednesday 18 October, 7.30pm - The Customs House, South Shields
• Thursday 19 October, 7.30pm- Arts Centre Washington
• Friday 20 October, 7.30pm - The Witham, Barnard Castle
• Saturday 21 October, 7.30pm - Trimdon Grange Community Centre
• Tuesday 24 October, 7.30pm - Coundon & Leeholme Community Centre
• Wednesday 25 October, 7.30pm - Hamsterley & Low Westwood Community Centre
• Thursday 26 October, 7.30pm - Witton Park Village Hall
• Friday 27 October, 6pm - Pelton Community Centre
• Saturday 28 October, 3pm - St John’s Hall, Meadowfield
• Tuesday 31 October, 7.30pm - Live Theatre, Newcastle
• Wednesday 1 November, 7.30pm - Live Theatre, Newcastle
• Thursday 2 November, 7.30pm - Casterton Village Hall, Carnforth*
• Friday 3 November, 7.30pm - Kirkby Stephen Sports & Social Club*
• Saturday 4 November, 7.30pm - Frosterley Village Hall*
• Sunday 5 November, 7.30pm - Middleton & Todridge Village Hall, Morpeth*
*These dates are presented as part of the Highlights Rural Touring Scheme
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